What is an argument?
A strong argument tries to persuade the reader to accept a point of view using:
1. A declarative statement of an idea or opinion.
2. Support for the statement: including relevant facts, opinions based on facts and/or careful reasoning.
What is the Analysis of Argument?
Analysis of Argument questions present a short argument on an issue where you discuss how well it is reasoned.
Here is an example of an Analysis of Argument question:
Toads cause warts. I touched a toad last week and now I have a wart; therefore the toad was responsible.
How would you rate the accuracy of the above statement? Support your position with reasons and examples.
How is it different than Analysis of Issue?
On Analysis of Issue questions you try to argue grand issues such as “Should China be in the WTO,” or “Should parents have vouchers to send children to the school of their choice”. Reasonable people could differ in opinion on Analysis of Issue, but no reasonable person would absolutely support something in an Analysis of Argument question. When you are doing Analysis of Argument questions, look for glaring reasoning fallacies.
Graders expect the following:
- An essay that analyzes the several aspects of the argument with critical insight.
- A clearly developed and logical essay.
- A coherent essay with well-chosen transitions.
- An essay that uses varied sentence structure and vocabulary.
- An essay that is free of grammatical errors.
One aspect of argumentation that needs special attention is the use of terms. In an argument, all of the terms should be clear and well-defined. If your terms are unclear, then it will be hard to prove your point and thus your argument will be weakened. One type of weak term is the emotionally-loaded term (for example, calling China a “tyranny” would be a loaded and emotional term). Anyone who writes an Analysis of Argument should examine the terms used and be sure that the writer avoids emotive or subjective terms. To the extent of your ability, define the terms clearly and objectively.
As in the case of the Analysis of Issue, the topic sentence of each paragraph must contain the germ of the idea that permeates the entire paragraph. Each example or illustration must connect to that idea using transitional markers such as for example, furthermore, therefore, thus or moreover.